& Rahim

The Ginjan Brothers

The Ginjan brothers—Mohammed and Rahim Diallo—have come a long way since 2014 when they made the first batch of Ginjan in their small Harlem apartment kitchen.  When the brothers first presented the Ginjan ginger drink at a Harlem Street festival in 2015 they had no idea that by 2022  Ginjan will be sold in Whole Foods Markets across the Northeast region — in New York State, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. 

The Ginjan journey hasn’t always been easy. Mohammed and Rahim started Ginjan with just $200, making the first prototype batches in their small New York apartment. Finding investors willing to take a gamble on young immigrant entrepreneurs of color has been a considerable mountain to scale, too. Despite these initial challenges, the brothers persisted.

What started at a street festival is now fully a fledged direct-to-consumer, retail and brick-and-mortar enterprise.  The brand is also available online through FreshDirect and Amazon.   

When Facebook offices in New York reach out, the brothers said “YES!” to be part of the Facebook Campus in New York’s beverage stable. In 2016, Ginjan won the coveted Fedex Grand Prize Winner of the Small Business Grant, held annually, out of more than 2000 entries nationwide. A month later, they beat out 500 other entrants to scoop up the American Entrepreneurship Award. And then, just a few weeks after, Ginjan launched in its first Whole Foods Market in Harlem — and the rest was history, right?

The Whole Foods partnership yielded them the Bronze in the retailer’s ‘Local is Best’ Awards — for the entire Northeast region. In the spring of 2018, Ginjan became the first African brand to showcase at the James Beard Awards in Chicago, marking a sea change not only for the brand, but for African flavors in the United States at large.  This cemented the brothers’ long held dream of bringing African flavors to the World. 

While Ginjan has been featured in notable outlets such as Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and The New York Times, podcasts are by far Rahim’s favorite platform for sharing the brand’s story. Perhaps the greatest highlight was being featured on NPR’s ‘How I built This with Guy Raz’.  “I’m actually still buzzing” quips Rahim. 

As an early investor in Ginjan, Wendy Williams featured the drink on her daytime talk show, introducing it to an entirely new audience. This has helped the brand’s direct-to-consumer efforts, propelling them to sell and ship to 48 states, including Canada and Mexico.

This has inspired them to expand offerings on the website, and they have since added the Afrique coffee white label blend by La Colombe as well as a second beverage called Ginjan Bissap — a refreshing hibiscus based drink made from African Sorrel.

The Ginjan Café has been a dream since the beginning of their journey, opening in August 2019. Now, having a survived a global pandemic, it is still the cornerstone in the historical Corn Exchange Building on 125th street in East Harlem.  It is the flagship of the brand, serving Ginjan organic ginger and together with La Colombe premium African coffees as well as Harlem-made pastries from some of the neighborhood’s finest artisans.  

In late 2021 they joined forces with a local chef to offer African-forward, modern cuisine which includes ancient grain bowls, authentic West African staples and vegan-friendly lunch options. The story continues, as in latter part of 2022, the brothers are opening a second Ginjan Café in BedStuy, Brooklyn, serving the same mix of innovative offerings that made them famous in Harlem.

Take your
First Sip
of Ginjan.